I understand what you are talking about for sure. I think it is a hard discussion to have on the internet without the physical/non-verbal communication that comes from direct hands on.
Down in Stuttgart I am working with an instructor that has a constant stream of beginners and teaches a very basic and fundamental way that essentially communicates sound, but very, very basic structure of ashi taisho, posture, and mechanics. He does a great job of that with beginners I think.
However, there is not much there for me for my own growth, but I am learning from him how to teach beginners as I can really appreciate his methodology.
Vice, for my own practice, I tend to turn to guys like Dan Harden, Toby Threadgill, Marc Abrams, and my dojo back in DC when I can find the time to train with them where it is a whole different focus on movement and alot more subtle. In fact, all of these venues and people are different in their own way and I always take something out of the time spent.
I personally break my time up and concentrate on different aspects of budo/aikido/jiu jitsu, however, I spend most of my time in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu these days as I am making great gains in learning basic movements in jiu jitsu that are fundamental to all martial arts that require a feel, proprioception, or touch for response or decision.
In the future, I see myself tranisitioning to more IS/IT training which is a completely different set of exercises and skills that require letting go of some notions I have learned, and training in very specific ways.
As far as the basic "shomen strike/grab the wrist and throw the guy across the room" style of aikido...while there is a time and place for that, it is not my focus these days and I tend not to desire to spend much time in that right now.
So, hopefully I have conveyed that I believe that there can be many structures or frameworks within budo of aikido that allow us to train and accomplish our goals.
What is key is that we are using the right one for the right job. Hence alot of our discussions, as you know, center around "self defense or fighting". Certainly aikido can have much relevancy for this, but if this is your focus, then you'd have to train in a very specific manner, which many would say are not within the context of aikido.
Personally, I don't subscribe to limitation based on a particular set of rules or dogma...so I have no issues with the various ways of training as long as correct frameworks are used to train for the specific reasons.
I appreciate you spent time giving these clear answers.
Itīs true that the interpretation of Aikido is generally restricted, but this is not about Aikido, and it is also true that itīs difficult to discuss in an open forum like this.
In my view the "whole package" should be present, at least as a mental framework for everyday practise.. At some point along the path itīs good to experience that Aikido is rooted in budo to fully comprehend the scope of Morihei Ueshiba Oīsenseis work and the influence of Takeda sensei.. as well as Onisaburo Deguchi.
(I say so knowing I have a long way to go)
I appreciate those senseis who work hard to transmit the roots and the basic curriculum because without that the arts would disintegrate. (this is not only true for Martial Arts but all arts in my view.)
I believe often there is a misunderstanding of concepts. Making sure the curriculum stays intact is not the same as making a carbon copy of Oīsensei- this is not possible, but maintaining the connection to the roots is.
But anyway, Aikido is not a free ride.. and I am not quite ready to dive into other arts..
Even I feel other sword traditions would be rewarding to study, like Kashima Shinto Ryu.
I have watched Toby Threadgill and I am also impressed by Yanagi Ryu even I have only watched Don Angier sensei on youtube as well as Threadgill sensei.